Can mosquito excreta be used to enhance detection of Australian vector-borne diseases?

Are viruses present in mosquito poo and how can we detect them?

Testing for presence of arboviruses usually involves capturing wild mosquitoes and complicated laboratory analyses. These are not only time- and labour-intensive but also costly. Virus detection can be made from saliva, however mosquitoes only expel very small amounts which makes detection difficult.

We are proposing to use their excreta instead as it is produced in greater quantities than saliva, and shows higher sensitivity in virus detection. In order to explore this proposal we need to know where and when mosquitoes discharge their excreta in the traps.

The discharge of excreta could be dependent on a variety of factors such as temperature, time after last meal or time of day/night, type of trap; it may also be species-dependent or it could just be random. These factors need to be examined to ensure maximum collection of excreta. The results will lead to the modification and optimization of existing traps.

  • Professor Scott Ritchie

  • Professor Scott Ritchie

  • James Cook University

  • January - December 2017

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